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Thread: Add print list feature

  1. #1

    Lightbulb Add print list feature

    I just bought Perfectunes last night after a year using DBpoweramp and I had a few questions and a suggestion.

    The album art search brought up 260 without art, many were just single tracks which appear to be albums where
    track 1 recorded with no metadata after ripping with WMP. Since the list is large it would be handy to have a print
    list feature so that I can take care of those at a later time with DBpa without having to do a new album art search.

    Also is there a way to contribute album art to your database? I have CD's for my entire library so is there an option
    to upload CD art I scan for all of the titles that Perfectunes reports no art found? And there are quite a few.

    I need to get all the track metadata fixed for a library conversion to FLAC. I ripped everything as WAV's because
    I started long ago and they sounded better than anything else. I still do out of habit. Plus I tried FLAC several
    times and decided that despite the metadata and space advantages, on my revealing system WAV still sounded better.
    I plan to keep my WAVs as a backup and try FLAC again. Any conversion settings suggestions would be welcome and
    I can ask this on the DBpa forum if that is more appropriate.

    Thanks,

    Lance

  2. #2
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    Re: Add print list feature

    FLAC does not need any settings, other than the compression levels, all are lossless.

  3. #3
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    Re: Add print list feature

    Quote Originally Posted by Spoon View Post
    FLAC does not need any settings, other than the compression levels, all are lossless.
    and to be clear, FLAC is lossless at all compression settings (no compression through "8"). When I rip to FLAC, the only other thing I do (besides choosing which metadata tags I want populated) is to add ReplayGain tags for use by my player (if I choose to turn that option on). I add both Album Gain and Track Gain using the EBU R128 method at -18 (default). Note that this does NOT change the lossless audio. It simply adds a tag (just like metdata ARTIST, ALBUM, etc.) that many players can use to "equalize" volume levels upon playback.

    p.s. perhaps you perceived WAV files to sound better because the FLAC files may have had ReplayGain tags (which I also add to my FLAC files). If the player uses these tags, the volume is typically reduced. The WAV file wouldn't have these tags. And studies have shown that even slight (not obvious) differences in volume can lead study subjects to choose the "louder" song as sounding "better".

  4. #4
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    Re: Add print list feature

    Gary, I agree with you that minor changes in level and to some degree frequency response can have significant subjective effects on perceived "quality". At moderate listening levels, louder, even a little, will be perceived as better, hence the CD and radio loudness "wars". Also, adding bass, and to a point, treble to a recording will be thought of by many listeners as better, to the point where I swear that some recordings I have listened to were mixed with a monitor speaker with a blown tweeter (or possibly with a person that has no HF hearing left from mixing at 120 dB)!

    However, there is another issue: How well the particular codec that decodes the FLAC in an individual's system does in preserving fidelity as compared to the WAV codec. In all likelihood, there are different codecs, and there is no guarantee that a particular codec accurately transcribes the data as it decodes it, just as there is no guarantee that a particular D to A converter is even close to being linear and flat under all circumstances. Since the professionals use WAV, I suspect that more effort has been put into those codecs than into the "crowdsourced" FLAC codecs.

    Have you (or anyone) done any objective testing about the actual technical quality of the more common codecs out there?

  5. #5
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    Re: Add print list feature

    I haven't done any testing on codecs per se, but I've done double blind (ABX) testing on transparency of different codecs in my own setup, with the results being no ability to detect differences between high enough bitrate mp3 and lossless versions, except when using known problem (hard to encode) samples. There is lots of testing on this sort of thing, search hydrogenaud.io forums for many, many discussions and results of testing of these questions. (hydrogenaud.io is about the only objective digital audio forum that I trust. There are lots of audiophool forums where people poo-poo blind testing, ignore the science and engineering facts of audio reproduction, and then try to shoehorn analog concepts into the digital domain ($10,000 audiophile usb cables anyone?). There are also peer reviewed published studies that address this topic. I can't point to the specifics, but over the years in reading these threads and references to the literature, my impression is that there is zero evidence that WAV should (or does) sound different from FLAC in any system that is not broken. Decoding FLAC files is trivial (encoding takes more computer resources, but is only done once of course). WAV was useful in the past before the development of good lossless codecs (FLAC, applelossless, etc.). Cuefiles were useful in the past too for gapless playback. But neither WAV nor cuefiles have been necessary for many years.

    I can say that one test of your hypothesis is playback of DSD via a squeezebox system. These FLAC files have to ultimately be decoded properly. And even turning the digital volume down slightly causes the file to be decoded as noise instead of music (because it is not longer bit perfect). These files are played perfectly on the squeezebox (if the digital volume is set to 100%), thus the decoding did not cause any loss in fidelity--anything short of perfect decoding produces noise.

    All this said, if WAV makes a person happier, that's what they should use.

  6. #6
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    Re: Add print list feature

    Not exactly what you were asking, but you might find these interesting reading (these are not the peer reviewed items I mentioned, but interesting nonetheless)

    http://archimago.blogspot.ca/2014/06...st-part-i.html
    http://archimago.blogspot.ca/2014/04...-encoders.html
    http://archimago.blogspot.ca/2013/06...t-perfect.html
    http://archimago.blogspot.ca/2013/02...lind-test.html

  7. #7
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    Re: Add print list feature

    Quote Originally Posted by schmidj View Post
    However, there is another issue: How well the particular codec that decodes the FLAC in an individual's system does in preserving fidelity as compared to the WAV codec. In all likelihood, there are different codecs, and there is no guarantee that a particular codec accurately transcribes the data as it decodes it, just as there is no guarantee that a particular D to A converter is even close to being linear and flat under all circumstances. Since the professionals use WAV, I suspect that more effort has been put into those codecs than into the "crowdsourced" FLAC codecs.
    The reason that (some) audio professionals use wav is due to digital audio theory and computing technologies and standards, developed (and which are still evolving) many moons ago and not down to codecs.

    Given what we know now, I believe the wav standards that were developed (44.1KHz, 48KHz etc. and 16-bit, 24-bit etc.) would be designed a little different now, but they are what they are, due to the reasons given earlier.

    garym is right, decoded flac = wav and any discernible differences experienced by the listener are down to player software and/or firmwares, DSPs, DACs, amps, speakers etc.

    In a free world, end users can choose to use what we like... I personally choose to use flac.

  8. #8
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    Re: Add print list feature

    Thanks Gary and mville,

    I've been at this a while, my professional audio editing and recording software all works with native wav files (most recorders will also record MP3, not what I want...) so that's what I use to edit, and of course store the files in that format. Stuff I rip, for listening, is in FLAC, with a copy compressed to m4a for my portable devices. I use the format converter in dBpoweramp to make FLAC and m4a copies of my projects to listen to, but have to fix the metadata in the .wav files before converting because the editing software doesn't write proper (there apparently is no real standard) metadata tags. Yes most compression codecs, for audio, but particularly for video are much more computationally intensive for recording than playing back. The assumption is that the recording is done once, by people who can afford to pay for an expensive encoder, while playback is done many times, often in consumer hardware where cost is a factor.

    In the early days of digital, no-one thought seriously about metadata, AES3 and the various early video encoding schemes had provision for a limited number of "user bits" but, except for time code, nothing was standardized. These formats were developed as transmission standards, not storage or editing. A .wav file simply packages a PCM bitstream in a manner a computer can store and/or manipulate it. The metadata came later, the original metadata was applied with a sharpie to the storage media. Even CD's originally had no stored metadata beyond the "pq" data necessary to tell the player where on the serial stream to start playing a cut. CD Text came much later, and is still not often used. Metadata really got started in audio with the adoption of compressed files for consumer playback, where something beyond the filename was needed to tell the consumer what he had.

    Regarding fidelity, the first half of my 50+ years in the audio business was spent trying to improve the fidelity of the audio, most people thought the golden grail was perfect transparency. The last half has been devoted to some degree to making the audio sound "good" even if that may in fact decrease the true fidelity. Now the better analog design (and recording) engineers in fact did that from day one, they had to deal with imperfections, so they tried to make the imperfections sound pleasing.

    I always am amused by the "suits" who say, "its digital, it must be perfect" Ha! Every recording or transmission technique makes compromises. Digital audio can be transmitted moderate to long distances with less effort or degradation than analog. It can be stored and reproduced with typically no further degradation than was in the original recording (sample rate, bit depth, quality of the analog to digital conversion) It can now be stored in much less physical space than an analog recoding of equal quality, but it made compromises in the original recording, the editing, and often in the distribution and reproduction. If the material is live and the distances are short, analog will always be more accurate than digital, although unlikely to be detectably better. Digital techniques allow for much more flexibility in editing and processing audio, that's why most audio is now processed digitally.

    I could go on, but Spoon may say I'm wasting too much of his bandwidth... BTW, I am currently at the Audio Engineering Society's convention in LA.

  9. #9
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    Re: Add print list feature

    Thanks for the background. Obviously, you can clearly understand the issues raised around lossless codecs better than most given your background. (And all my comments are in the context of end users of audio listening to/managing music on consumer devices....certainly there are other issues for the "creation" side of things in the music production business.) Enjoy the convention and LA. Regards.

  10. #10
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    Re: Add print list feature

    Quote Originally Posted by schmidj View Post
    However, there is another issue: How well the particular codec that decodes the FLAC in an individual's system does in preserving fidelity as compared to the WAV codec. In all likelihood, there are different codecs, and there is no guarantee that a particular codec accurately transcribes the data as it decodes it, just as there is no guarantee that a particular D to A converter is even close to being linear and flat under all circumstances. Since the professionals use WAV, I suspect that more effort has been put into those codecs than into the "crowdsourced" FLAC codecs.

    Have you (or anyone) done any objective testing about the actual technical quality of the more common codecs out there?
    In short, there has been far more effort on FLAC than WAV, specifically because FLAC is isn't proprietary. Among the many points that FLAC is more robust than WAV for post-production uses: FLAC has built-in error detection, such that dropped info will be flagged when decoding, while the same will go undetected in WAV decoding (other than the audio sounding bad). As previously noted, FLAC has far more robust tagging capabilities. FLAC requires fewer CPU resources to decode than WAV. FLAC is supported in a far better manner than WAV - the last WAV release was in 2007, while the last FLAC release was in 2013 and a new one is imminent. As far as audio quality outside of file errors, as previously noted both are lossless so they should decode bit identically - if not, any FLAC flaw will reliably be fixed quickly by Xiph, but all bets are off that any WAV decoding errors would ever be addressed. Put another way, all work on WAV at Microsoft and IBM ended in 2007 - you don't really think any of the experts in WAV are still around, and if so, really are up-to-speed on WAV details, do you?

    The only potential edge that WAV has is that it's 32 bit floating point, making it theoretically less risky than FLAC (24 bit integer is the best decoder available at the moment) for music while it's still in production to avoid clipping issues while mixing and mastering. But once production is done, for the reasons above FLAC is either just as good or better, and certainly less risky.

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